Lawmakers Consider Repealing Early Release Program

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The General Assembly is considering repealing law that releases prisoners early.

    Reforming the state prisons' early release program is the aim of the first bill to draw comment at this afternoon's judiciary committee hearing.

    In 2011, the General Assembly approved the legislation, which  allows most inmates who participate in various education and counseling programs to shorten a prison sentence by as many as five days a month removed from their sentences.

    On Friday, the Judiciary Committee is holding a public hearing on Senate Bill 123, which would repeal the early release law.

    "While I respect the intent of the program and its efforts to reduce recidivism, there are simply too many violent individuals abusing this initiative," State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, (D) Meriden, told the committee in a prepared statement.

    Last June in Meriden, Ibrahim Ghazal, 70, was shot and killed in his convenience store.

    Surveillance video caught Frankie Resto gunning down Ghazal. Resto had been paroled half a year before his sentence for robbery was up.

    Bartolomeo proposes denying early release for anyone serving time for class A and B felonies. 

    The state government currently denies early release only to people convicted of six crimes including murder.

    Republicans have proposed eliminating the early release program entirely and presented three victims and relatives of victims of criminals who are either up for early release or, like Fabio Ghazal, a criminal who was released early.

    "This guy -  he destroyed our life," Ghazal said.

    Democrats hold large majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

    You can read the bill here.